14 April 2019

Kenya/Morocco: Fatigued Gor Crash Out of Confed Cup After Berkane Thrashing

Nairobi — Having seen majority of their starting X1 arrive less than an hour to kick-off away in Morocco, Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia found the going tough as they succumbed to a 7-1 aggregate defeat to RS Berkane to crash out of the CAF Confederation Cup at the quarter-final stage.

This is after Gor, who entered the second leg clash at the back of a 2-0 defeat in the first leg hosted in Nairobi fell 5-1 in the return leg played in Morocco on Sunday.

The host took control of the first half that saw Gor captain Harun Shakava become a casualty at the defence leading to the Moroccans goals that were netted by Kodjo Fo-Dohlaba, skipper Mohammed Aziz and Bakre El Helali.

Lawrence Juma hit the target for Gor to see the opening half end 3-1 and 5-1 on aggregate.

There were fears that K'Ogalo could result to fielding only eight players after the second batch of players that consisted of most starting X1 led by attacking midfielder Francis Kahata, delayed on the day of the game after a six hour drive from the Moroccan capital to the venue, but they managed to arrive less that an hour to kick-off.

Playing at home and knowing their opponents Gor had no time to shake off jet lag, Berkane surged forward from the whistle with winger HamdiLaachir and Samir Ouidare posing danger and giving the Gor back-line of Geoffrey Ochieng, Shakava, Joah Onyango and Philemon Otieno a hard time.

Berkane could have gone ahead 10 minutes after kick-off if Ouidare's bicycle-kick had found the target. Gor reached the opponent's territory for the first time in the 18th minute when Kahata's pin-point free kick was headed away by Berkane defender Issoufou Dayo for a fruitless corner.

In the 21st minute, Gor felt the heat to concede the opener after Shakava poorly cleared a cross that was swung from the right to land on Fo-Dohlaba who easily beat Gor custodian Fredrick Odhiambo.

Berkane could have made it two, after three minutes if Laachir had found the target with his header from a Fo-Dohlaba cross.

On the other end, Gor pulled one back from Lawrence Juma who utilized Philemon Otieno's cross from the right flank to beat the sloppy Berkane defence and bring K'Ogalo back in the game as the score read 3-1 on aggregate.

Gor survived in the 27th minute when Joash Onyango feebly cleared the danger that fall on Laachir who saw his shot deflected for a fruitless corner by Shakava.

Berkane could have been four goals up if they had not fluffed their glorious chances, this time seeing Fo-Dohlaba miss a clear sitter from close range after Laachir had brought in the cross.

However, they made the amends at the half hour mark when Aziz rose high to powerfully connect a free header from a corner that was conceded by Shakava and restore Berkane's three goals aggregate lead.

Seven minutes later, Gor found themselves on the receiving end again this time seeing Bakre El Helali strike easily by showing composure to pick the spot after Shakava failed to stop him as other defenders gave him space to shoot at the far right side.

Gor head coach Hassan Oktay pulled out Shakava for Boniface Omondi.

On return for the last half, Gor could not get any better as Berkane added the fourth goal through defender Issoufou Dayo who scored from a free header after Laachir swung in a corner conceded by Boniface Omondi.

K'Ogalo's poor defence on set-pieces was evident after substitute Youssef Essaiyoy headed the ball home from a corner in the dying minutes as the Gor defence watched the ball roll in the net.

Gor will now turn their attention on defending the Kenyan Premier League title where the sit pretty at the top on 44 points with four games in hand.

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